When “No Fees” Becomes a Stealthy Charge Link to heading

In the world of banking, trust is paramount. We rely on financial institutions to safeguard our hard-earned money, and we expect transparency in return. But what happens when a bank’s marketing promises clash with reality? Their glossy marketing lured me in, but the reality was a $70 slap in the face.

The Advertised Promises Link to heading

As of April 23 2024, Live Oak Bank is advertising consumer savings account as:

  • “Save Simpler with Competitive Interest Rates and No Monthly Maintenance Fees or Minimum Balance.”
  • “No Monthly Maintenance Fees: We Don’t Charge You to Keep Your Money Growing Strong.”
  • No Minimum Balance Requirements: Your Money Grows with Us, No Matter How Much You Have.”

As a cautious consumer, these promises resonated with me. Who wouldn’t want a hassle-free savings account with no hidden fees? I eagerly signed up, envisioning my money flourishing without any strings attached.

The Shocking Reality Link to heading

Fast forward a few years. My inbox pinged with a dormant account notification from Live Oak Bank. Curious, I logged in to find $70 worth of fees debited from my account. Wait, what? Hadn’t they promised no fees? Hadn’t they assured me that my money would grow unencumbered?

The Fine Print Link to heading

I reviewed the fine print, hoping for an explanation. Buried deep within their account disclosures, I discovered the truth. Live Oak Bank’s “no fees” claim was a mirage. The reality was starkly different:

Are there any monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements with my personal savings account?

There are no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements for the Live Oak Bank Savings account, however, the Dormant Account Fee may apply. If an account has a balance less than $10.01 and no activity for 24 consecutive months (“no activity” is defined as no withdrawals, deposits, contact with a Customer Success Manager, nor customer log-ins to the online banking website), a dormant account fee will be assessed, and the account will be closed.


What fees does Live Oak charge with personal savings accounts?

Dormant Account Fee: If an account has a balance less than $10.01 and no activity for 24 consecutive months, a monthly dormant account fee will be assessed and the account will be closed.


The account balance was greater than $10.01, so this fee is unexpected, to say the least.

The Bank’s Response Link to heading

I dialed Live Oak Bank’s customer service. Their tone was apologetic, rehearsed. “Our marketing team slipped up,” they admitted. “We’ll let them know.” But what about my $70? “Sorry, no refunds,” they replied. Apparently, false advertising doesn’t warrant restitution. They asked me to check the disclaimers for the actual legal account fee disclaimer:

If an account has no activity for 24 consecutive months … a monthly dormant account fee will be assessed

Conclusion Link to heading

Live Oak Bank’s glossy promises crumbled. Their “no fees” facade masked a trap. How many others fell victim? As I write this, I wonder. So, dear reader, heed this warning: Read the fine print. When promises sound too good, they probably are. Live Oak Bank, consider this your exposé. Your customers deserve truth, not tricks.